Tommy Boy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a wholly mediocre presentation.
Sharpness seemed erratic, as the movie lacked great delineation. At best, the image seemed reasonably accurate in close-ups, but wider shots appeared loose and ill-defined.
No shimmering or jaggies showed up, and mild edge haloes crept into the presentation. As for source flaws, a mix of specks and marks appeared. While not heavy, they popped up more often than I’d like.
Colors were acceptable but not better than that. At times, they took on decent signs of brightness and definition, but they generally could be a bit flat and drab.
Black levels appeared somewhat heavy, while shadow detail was decent. Low-light shots demonstrated acceptable clarity but tended to seem a little dull. This transfer offered a mediocre presentation.
As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Tommy Boy, it seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, especially in the factory, and a couple of sequences even offered some pretty solid split surround material. These were the exceptions to the rule, however, as most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
Audio quality appeared good for the most part. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion.
Music was the weakest link, as the score and songs lacked much heft. They were perfectly clear, but the absence of notable bass response made them sound a bit tepid. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2005 Special Edition DVD? The lossless audio demonstrated a little more range, but the limitations of the soundscape meant it didn’t offer a big improvement.
The same went for visuals. I suspect the Blu-ray recycled the DVD’s transfer, and it appeared lackluster. The Blu-ray worked a bit better due to the format’s superior capabilities, but this remained a bland presentation.
The Blu-ray replicates the DVD’s extras, and we find an audio commentary from director Peter Segal. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that looks at locations and shooting in Toronto, script and title changes, working with Farley and Spade, the influences for various gags, the score, crafting the conclusion, and general production notes.
Segal presents a reasonable amount of good information about the film and gives us a pretty nice overview of things. However, he goes silent too much of the time.
There’s a moderate level of dead air, and that makes things drag. There’s enough quality material to make this worth a listen, though.
After this we move ahead with Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter. This 29-minute, eight-second featurette includes comments from Segal, associate producer Michael Ewing, producer Lorne Michaels, executive producer Robert K. Weiss, editor William Kerr, writer Fred Wolf, actors David Spade, Rob Lowe, Bo Derek, Julie Warner and Brian Dennehy.
We learn about the roots of the project and the connection between Spade and Chris Farley, the inexperience of many on the shoot, development of the script, scheduling complications related to Saturday Night Live, Segal’s style, Farley’s impact on the production and his character, and casting and the work of other actors, and the movie’s impact.
Inevitably, some fluffiness emerges during the show. However, it includes a pretty good collection of stories and notes about making the flick.
We also get a surfeit of nice behind the scenes footage that presents plenty of outtakes and other fun moments. “Laughter” is a solid program.
In Stories from the Side of the Road, we get a 13-minute, 31-second piece with remarks from Segal, Spade, Lowe, Wolf, Kerr, Weiss, and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper. Anecdotal in nature, this show covers the development and shooting of many of the movie’s most memorable bits.
Among others, we learn how they came up with gags like the Flashdance spoof and “Fat Guy In a Little Coat” as well as the issues connected with shooting the deer and cow-tipping scenes. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but we get a lively and informative look at the flick’s creative moments.
Another featurette called Just the Two of Us appears next. It goes nine minutes, 46 seconds and presents comments from Spade, Segal, Derek, Warner, Lowe, Wolf, brothers Kevin and John Farley and actor Dan Aykroyd.
As implied by the title, this one covers the Spade/Farley relationship. We hear about their connection and get stories about their work together. These include some fun tales like their spat over Rob Lowe. “Two” fits in well with the other programs and provides a nice glimpse of the Farley/Spade dynamic.
For the final featurette, we find Growing Up Farley. It fills seven minutes, 29 seconds with notes from Kevin and John Farley as well as Michaels, Segal, Wolf and Spade. We mostly hear about Farley’s childhood behavior, though we also get some information about his start in show business.
The remarks from the Farley brothers are surprisingly unsentimental – they may Chris sound like a really obnoxious kid – and this program lacks the goopiness I expect from retrospectives about the deceased. That’s a good thing, and the tone helps make the piece reasonably useful.
Scads of cut footage appears on this disc, as we find five Deleted Scenes (six minutes, 43 seconds), six Alternate Takes (4:18), and 15 Extended Scenes (22:19). Peter Segal offers introductions for all the “Deleted Scenes” that tell us why he cut the sequences.
Those segments are the most interesting of the bunch since they don’t have any siblings in the final cut. The “Extended” clips have some good moments, though they mostly show footage we’ve already seen.
Similarly, the “Alternate” stuff resembles material in the finished film, but they’re enjoyable since they provide fairly raw shots. Plus, we get a couple more seconds of full nudity from the pool skinny-dipper, so that alone is worth the price of admission.
Seven Storyboard Comparisons run a total of 13 minutes, 54 seconds. These offer the drawings in the top half of the frame and the final film footage in the bottom.
I’m not a huge fan of this kind of material, but this section is well-executed and fairly fun to see, partially because the storyboards include a lot of stage directions and other information.
Plenty of ads show up as well. In addition to the film’s trailer, we discover 19 TV Spots.
A Gag Reel lasts four minutes, 16 seconds. It’s better than usual since it includes some improvised bits and other wacky moments.
Finally, a Photo Gallery features 49 shots from the film and the set. Few of them seem interesting.
One of the stronger movies to come from former Saturday Night Live performers, Tommy Boy gives us an entertaining piece. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel to do anything unexpected or remarkable, but it also avoids the traps that often make SNL alumni flicks feel like little more than collections of skits. The Blu-ray offers a nice selection of supplements but picture appears mediocre and audio remains restrained. While I like the movie, this doesn’t turn into an impressive release.
To rate this film visit the prior review of TOMMY BOY